UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:57 pm on 14th March 2019.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Conservative, Clwyd West 3:57 pm, 14th March 2019

The vote was on whether we wished to leave the European Union or remain. It did not refer to any particular deal, and it is this Parliament that has voted the deal down. The intention of all this is to stop Brexit. The plain and simple fact is that Parliament contracted out the decision on whether to remain in the European Union to the people of this country, and the decision of the people was absolutely clear: they wanted to leave. Parliament has put in place the legislation to enable us to leave, with a clear departure date that is now just over two weeks away. I remind all hon. Members that that is what this House voted for.

Yet today we have arrived at a point where the Government motion before us seeks to delay the date of our departure. That is after more than 100 repeated assurances by the Prime Minister that we will certainly be leaving on 29 March. We are told that the way to avoid any delay is to support the deal that the Government have concluded with the European Union, yet this House, as my right hon. Friend just mentioned, has twice rejected that deal—most recently only two days ago. The deal is dead. It cannot be resurrected. There is no deal.

The legal position of what this House voted for is that we now leave without a deal on 29 March. That is the law, but that is what the Government’s own motion shamefully seeks to frustrate, and I believe that every Member who supports the motion will equally be acting shamefully. He or she will be expressing, as clearly as possible, contempt for the outcome of the referendum and for all those who voted to leave the European Union. Those voters will see what is behind the extraordinary exercise that has taken place over the last three days: a determined attempt by people inside and outside this House to halt Brexit and impose on the British people a second referendum in the hope that Brexit will be stopped altogether. I have no doubt that that ambition is not shared by the people who sent us here.

I am absolutely convinced that people out there are sick and tired of the gyratory antics of parliamentarians. They want an end to the apparently interminable Brexit process. They know the law provides that we leave on 29 March, and they expect this House to do its best to ensure that we do. They have made their decision, and they expect that decision to be implemented.

If we break our promise to the British people, which we will be doing if we pass the motion this evening, we will risk completely destroying the already fragile trust that the people of this country have in this country’s constitutional arrangements, in its political institutions and, to be blunt, in each and every one of us. That would be a profoundly dangerous state of affairs. No Member of this House should be willing to put that trust at further risk, which is why I urge the House to reject this motion.